Data Integrity – Part 1: 3 Crucial Elements

The old saying, ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ or GIGO applies here.  In today’s health environment, where medical care is documented electronically rather than old-school paper charting, it is extremely important to ensure the information you enter into your electronic chart is correct.  In the beginning, it may seem to be all about ‘clicks’ and/or ‘return on investment’, however if your data is not accurate, it could be all for nothing.

Data integrity can be broken out in three crucial areas.


If your data is not complete, one can assume it’s neither viable or probable.  For example, if the patient geographical information is missing or incorrect (city, state, phone), how can you communicate to them for billing, outreach, or surveillance methods?  Or if the vitals are not completely entered, will you be able to retrieve your HEDIS, HQM or UDS measures?


I would tend to say that the accuracy of your data has the highest importance.   If your data is not accurate, it could lead to a child receiving multiple vaccinations that are not needed, or even possibly be under vaccinated, an outbreak awareness in a regional area missed.  Or, revenue that is under inflated or over inflated.


Lastly, your data should be consistent.  Data validity tools, embedded on your data entry screens, e.g., pick-lists, master lists, master phrases, libraries, help the end user enter data consistently.  At times, these pop-up lists can be more of a nuisance than assistance, so care has to be taken when evaluating where and when they will be helpful.

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About the Author:

Victoria Wieronski
Victoria is a Senior Application Specialist and NextGen Certified Professional at eMedApps. She works in a variety of roles for our clients. She is typically responsible for upgrades, Crystal reports, template development, custom products, Uniform Data System (UDS) and HEDIS reporting, implementation and support of the NextGen EHR, PM and Document Management product. Victoria has over twenty-eight years of experience in the healthcare industry. She worked in a large FQHC/CHC system specializing in behavioral health, community health and primary care for many years as a clinical and database analyst. She managed the implementation and support of NextGen for over 200 providers at twenty locations. She has thirteen years’ experience with the NextGen product and over twenty years of practice management software in general, including but not limited to, eCornerstone and disease surveillance systems for the State of Illinois. She is responsible for the Nextgen KBM application upgrades for physician practices and upgrade implementations. She analyzes workflows and develops training tools and documentation for office personnel and physicians. She is familiar with multi-specialty practices and modules, e.g., BBP, Rosetta, Fax Services, etc. She also assists organizations in the design of their crystal reports and template development. Victoria also provides on-going support to practices to resolve software and technical issues. She received her undergrad in Computer Science. If she is not working, she’s enjoying boating and wave running on the Chain O’Lakes with her family (2 and 4 legged).